Business Observer takes a look at My Other Place

Phil Pugh of Pugh Realty Group says luxury storage condos are in demand because people are looking for a secure place to store their expensive vehicles and other valuables.  - Photo by Ed Clement

Jean Gruss, Business Observer editor, interviews Phil Pugh on the expanding world of luxury condo storage.

"If you own a million-dollar recreational vehicle, you can’t park it under a tree.

Besides, if you live in a deed-restricted community, the association may nix the idea of letting an RV sit in the driveway.

But choices are often limited, mostly ramshackle rental storage units or someone’s empty warehouse or lot. Sometimes these storage alternatives are located in industrial neighborhoods on the outskirts of town, far from anyone’s home.

Phil Pugh’s partners had a better idea. They built luxury storage condos near U.S. 41 and Immokalee Road in North Naples called My Other Place that average 1,000 square feet with security cameras, air conditioning and room for plumbing.

These units are cavernous. Fourteen-foot doors roll open at the touch of a remote-control button. Some are as wide as 22 feet with 20-foot ceilings and sprinkler systems throughout. “It’s hurricane proof,” says Pugh, whose consulting and real estate firm, Pugh Realty Group, has become the expert in the burgeoning area of luxury condo storage.

The second phase of the luxury storage project recently sold out and units there averaged $179,000. “It was a market that wasn’t served,” says Pugh, who notes that it would cost about the same sum to add on to an existing residential garage.

The third phase of the project will be completed next year and will have 32 units. “I’m starting a preferred waiting list,” says Pugh, who is marketing the project.

Don’t call them man caves, though. “This is not a party place,” Pugh says.

The term “man cave” has become popular as men seek out warehouses where they can entertain friends and buff their sports cars away from home. “It’s not a man cave. It’s not a bar. You can’t live here,” Pugh says.

Municipalities have strict zoning laws that segregate commercial uses. For example, it would be unusual for a municipality to agree to allow a storage facility to let its tenants have a bar inside their units.

Besides, Pugh says, customers of My Other Place don’t want other tenants to treat it as a bachelor pad. “Our customers do not want people drinking,” he says. Indeed, privacy is a big issue. That’s because tenants store valuable cars and other things in their units. “We’re zoned for storage,” Pugh says.

Because the facility draws from a five to seven mile radius, Pugh says it’s important to locate such luxury storage condos close to residential areas with the right demographics. Pugh sells residential real estate, too, and that gives him insight into how to market and target buyers, some of whom are seasonal residents from northern states and need to store valuables in the summer."

- Jean Gruss, Business Observer, His Other Place